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What is affecting political trust?  A comparative study on Europe
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This study addresses the question of what is affecting political trust in Europe. Political trust is vital for creating system legitimacy, which is needed for a democracy to be stable and effective. Over the years many theories about what is determining political trust have been developed, though no consensus of which theory that has the most effect has been reached. This paper will examine the effect that social capital and economic fairness evaluations have on political trust in Europe and if these effects can be seen to change depending on how long the countries has had democratic institutions. 27 countries were included in the study; these were divided into four regions depending on their time with democratic institutions.

The theories used when looking at what could be effecting political trust are the social capital theory, defined by Robert Putnam in his studies of the system changes in Italy and the United States, and the economic fairness theory, used by Kluegel & Manson in their research on the post-communist states in Eastern Europe. The division of countries based on time with democratic institutions was done based on the two forms of political support defined by David Easton. The survey material used in the study is taken from the 2012 European Social Survey (ESS).

The study concludes that both social capital as well as economic fairness evaluations have an effect on political trust, though how strong the effects are varies depending on the region of research and on which parts of the two theories that is tested. Though by far the strongest impact is in all four European regions seen when looking at how the citizens evaluate the economic system. The time since a country formed democratic institutions could not be found to have an effect on political trust.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 36 p.
Keyword [en]
Political trust, Social capital, Economic fairness evaluations, Robert Putnam, James Kluegel, David Manson, David Easton, Diffuse support, Europe
National Category
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-40094OAI: diva2:788098
Subject / course
Political Science
Available from: 2015-02-16 Created: 2015-02-12 Last updated: 2015-02-16Bibliographically approved

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